Assessing the plan

Yes, assessing the plan that really isn’t a plan. My focus on the goal of using the stash could dissipate if I continue on the path I’m on. It will be too easy to get distracted and off track when selecting one group of fabrics at a time and making a quilt. I will continue to do that, but there has to be some immediate action to change bad habits.

My scraps, sorted into baskets by color, are very useable, but very distracting.

I often am pulled off-track by an intriguing bit hanging over the edge of one of those baskets.

And as I scroll through my pictures, I realize that I have tried this approach several times in the past. Obviously, it has not worked.

I became aware that I have been trying to avoid a REAL sorting of fabric. I don’t actually want to take everything off the shelves and see every piece of fabric. If I do that, it means I have to make a decision on each piece, whether is goes or stays. Making things is fine, but it doesn’t move fast enough to be effective.

More soul searching is in the works, but I believe my ultimate goal is to only make art with fabric that I have “made” myself. My decisions will involve facing some hard facts—like the fact that I have spent a lot of money on these supplies and now I am not going to use them? Absurd…but most likely true.

I have distinct areas in my studio–quilting/sewing, knitting, beads & embroidery, painting, stamps, stencils, and dyeing, as well as a library wall of ways to use them! I do use it all, but will I continue to use it all?

Hmmmmmmmmmm…………………….

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Stashbusting Start

Yesterday was a total sewing day, all day long! And my shoulders are sore from hours at the machine, but it was very much worth it.

Wonky nine patches are very easy to make and when you get into that repetitive groove of cut-sew-press-cut-sew-press, the stacks get higher quickly.

And since I wanted to use up every bit of these fabrics, I made smaller four patch blocks to go along with them.

I put all of the larger blocks on the design wall (with no thought of design) because it’s always so satisfying to see so much work done!

Then I needed to figure out how I was going to incorporate the other size blocks. That original strip pieced portion yielded 8 small blocks, so I made a medallion of that.

And laid out the other smaller blocks around it.

That’s how I left things at the end of the day. Actually cooked a lovely chicken dinner and relaxed with the Olympics. Felt very productive…it was a very good day!

Not sure if this is how I will proceed. The whole idea is to keep it simple and get it done. When I head back to the studio, I will probaby arrange this grouping as a header, lay out the rest of the blocks in straight rows and GET IT DONE.

Because I’m already thinking of the next one…………………………orange!

Impatience rules!

Once I decided that destashing-by-making was my goal, there was no way I could wait until free days in March to get started! I have been less than thrilled with the way my white silk and thread project has been going, so this is what it looks like now.

Folded nice and neatly into a project bag and going to sit on the shelf for a while. I also packed up the tons of white fabrics and laces scheduled for the other part of the white project.

I thought it all came out of this box, but it sure doesn’t fit back in it! Thankfully, I found the larger box that it actually came from and got it all packed away again, too. It will come out again when the time is really right to make these projects.

So the decks were cleared to start making things disappear by sewing. I wasn’t sure exactly how to begin, so I gathered up lots of those patterns that I have collected, always meaning to use.

Absolutely cannot find my two favorite patterns, that I have actually made! Darn! And none of these really inspired me today, so I looked to the fabric to stimulate action. It worked, but in kind of a strange way.

There is no logic to the way my fabric instincts work. I have been buying mostly fat quarters for years, so I have no huge hunks of anything that are screaming to be used. The fabrics I chose to begin with are fabrics that have been annoying me for quite a few years.

In my beginning improv days, I used a lot of prints and didn’t leave much ‘breathing’ room. I began using these in that same way…

just AWFUL!  And there it sat, for years. So, I gathered up some compatible pieces, added in some ‘breathing’ fabrics and began to sew.

Using the simple wonky nine-patch block, I cut and sewed and now I’m on my way to my first intentional stashbusting quilt!

And true to my last post, scraps are going into a covered bin, not to be revisited until my stash goal is met….or at least a bit closer than it is now! This one should be done before my March ‘free days’ even begin, so I feel like I’ve made a good start.

Perhaps my next quilt will start out organized in an entirely different manner. I may pick a color and try to use it all up. I’m thinking also of using complementary colors in some way–because I have a lot of orange and blue and they look good together. Maybe I’ll make one with fabrics that don’t appeal to me so much anymore and then reward myself with fabrics I really like. Not worried about quilting or finishing at this point–just tops to use up the fabric.

My machine was humming and so was I, as I got started on this gigantic task.

Empty Calendar!

As I checked my calendar for March, I found quite a few blank days. More than usual. Empty, uncommitted, free time! It’s so easy to say ‘yes’ to things and fill up those days, but I refuse to do that!

And I don’t think I am going to concentrate on finishing up art projects. Whenever I go to the studio, THIS

greets me. I am sick of looking at THIS.

I want stuff to be GONE! I am so tired of saving things because I plan on using them someday, or “I’ll get around to it when I have some time.”

I found a picture that I took in 2013 of this same spot.

Doesn’t look much different, does it? I probably had the same ambition to clean it out then as I do now.

Well, it looks like the time is here!

That empty calendar is a clear sign that action time is available. And those actions usually work better with a plan. So in my time between now and the “after March 5” beginning date, I will locate those patterns that I liked, when I used other people’s patterns. I will select some fabrics for each project, though that is always subject to change! I will plan a project or two of original designs, that use up my fabric the way I usually use it. And I. WILL. SEW.

And scraps…………….I get distracted by scraps. They are usually bits of fabrics that I loved and a piece will catch my eye and I’ll be off on a tangent, creating with scraps. This time, everything designated as a scrap will be going into a container with a lid, so I can’t see them!

My ultimate goal here is to get my fabric stash down to one set of shelves. If the other shelves are piled with unfinished tops, that will be just fine!

March will be my month to get it all under control. When I write it down like this, it seems like a very ambitious plan, very challenging. But it IS a goal, and without goals we never make progress.

Wish me luck!

Who knew?

I certainly did not know that my almost-nine-year-old grandson would be picky about fabrics for a quilt! He definitely did not approve of the first fabrics I chose for it and only liked one of the next round I selected.

Since the theme was Space Marines (soldiers in space who all seem to have skulls hanging from their armor!), the skeleton panel was a definite. When I broke down and bought some space themed fabrics to add in, all was approved.

We even talked about design. I decided to make simple stars out of this fabric and asked him if he wanted stars all in rows or different sized stars, not all in even rows. He is MY grandson after all, so he chose the mixed-up stars!

So, now we are all set with the fabric choices and design and I can get this started.

My husband thinks it should be done by next weekend, but I’m aiming for AJ’s birthday at the end of January!

In reality, though, this has been a week for couch sitting and staring at the TV. My hand sewing UFO pile has nothing interesting in it but it’s always super easy to pick up some yarn and start knitting…so that’s about the extent of what I’ve done. Plus some naps, of course.

I tried a new-to-me pattern for a hat and loved the result.

The cabled section is a turned up brim and it’s very thick and warm. On the next one–remember, lots of couch sitting–my yarn is a bit thinner and I decided to make the cabled section a single layer.

The results were very good with both yarns and I’ll probably make this pattern to death. I have tons of this hot pink yarn, though, so I think I need to make a scarf to go with the hat. That will take a bit more time than the hat and should give me plenty of work while I watch bowl games.

Hooray for couch-sitting!

Done and on a detour…

Quilted, bound and in the washer–whenever I do a bed quilt, I don’t feel like I have a lot to show you. It’s often days of similar pictures since I’m working on the same pile of fabrics. But that’s part of working on larger projects!

And the quilting detail

Leftover binding, because I don’t measure. Not too much this time, and I have at least one more black, white and red quilt to make……………it will be used!

Another one done and now Keith can snuggle with a new quilt on cold days!

I was going to tackle a couple more from the UFO pile, but I got a request to make a quilt for my grandson. Well, that’s a no-brainer!

This panel was supposed to go into a Halloween quilt, but that didn’t happen.

However, AJ and his dad are into ‘space marines’ and those soldiers have skulls hanging from their armor, so it might still work! No Halloween orange and probably some gray camo and what 9 year old boy wouldn’t like it?

That’s the next project……………….but not really. I have embroidery floss that I soaked in soda ash when I did my last little fabric dyeing. I want to  finish the dyeing and clear my space before I start that next quilt.

And then there’s Christmas………………

When it snows…

Winter in Michigan usually has a lot of snow. Not so much last year, but we have started out pretty heavy for this year.

And it’s still snowing! How could I resist the opportunity to do a little snow dyeing? Especially since I just got a few new dyes to try out. Now snow usually gives you a softer effect than ice dyeing and the snow today was very soft and fine. Can’t wait to see how these turn out.

So what do you do while you are waiting for the snow to melt? High on the priority list was a nap…not because I needed one, but because I could! Laziness rules on cold, snowy days!

I spotted these circles on the table and thought about trying to do something with them.

They have been out before, but every time I look at them all I can think is ‘cliche’ so they went back into hiding.

So then I took the opportunity to get another quilt off the UFO pile and get it ready to quilt. I had actually forgotten that I made it…and I like it! My hubby needs a new quilt for the recliner—and his naps!–so this one is ready to quilt now.

And now the snow is melted and the fabrics are ready to rinse out–hooray!

Usually I leave them overnight, but not this time! I’m too impatient to wait tonight. Stay tuned for the results.